The Bird Sanctuary


The Bird Sanctuary is a 4 stanza poem written by Sarojini Naidu. Like many of her other poems, this poem is metaphorical in which the poet praises the diversity created by “Master of Bird”. She talks about birds of different colours and breeds. They fill the morning breeze with melodies. In the end, she prays to “Master of Bird” to grant shelter to even that bird which has a broken wing.


Stanza 1

In your quiet garden wakes a magic tumult
Of winged choristers that keep the festival of Dawn,
Blithely rise the carols in richly cadenced rapture,
From lyric throats of amber, of ebony and fawn. 

The poet is in conversation with Almighty God. According to her, a magical tumult i.e. noise of winged choristers i.e. birds wakes up in the quiet garden of God. This noise keeps the dawn time festive and joyful.

Carols rise blithely (cheerfully) in richly cadenced rapture from lyric (melodious) throats of birds like amber, ebony and fawn. In other words, as soon as the dawn approaches, all birds begin to sing carols (songs) cheerfully in a melodious and joyous tone.

Stanza 2

The bulbul and the oriole, the honeybird and Shama
Flit among high boughs that drip with nectar and with dew,
Upon the grass the wandering gull parades its sea-washed silver,
The hoopoe and the kingfisher their bronze and sapphire blue.

According to the poet, birds like bulbul, oriole, honeybird and Shama flit (move swiftly) among high boughs (branches) from which nectar and dew drips (falls) down. Wandering seagull parades over the grass with its sea-washed (wet) skin. The hoopoe and the kingfisher also show their bronze and sapphire blue colours

Stanza 3

Wild gray pigeons dreaming of a home amid the tree-tops,
Fill their beaks with silken down and slender banyan twigs,
But the jade-green gipsy parrots are only gay marauders,
And pause upon their sun-ward flight to plunder red ripe figs.

Wild grey pigeons with dream of building their home (nest) on the top of tree fill their beaks with soft, silk-like and thin banyan twigs. However their some birds like jade-green gipsy parrots which only fly here and there cheerfully and stop their long flights just to plunder (and eat) red and ripe figs.

Stanza 4

In your gracious garden there is joy and fostering freedom,
Nesting place and singing space for every feathered thing,
O Master of the Birds, grant sanctuary and shelter
Also to a homing bird that bears a broken wing.

In the last stanza, the poet says to God that in His gracious garden, there is joy and freedom, home for comfort and singing for every feathered thing (i.e. bird). In the end she prays to Master of Birds to grant sanctuary and shelter (i.e. home) to even a bird with broken wing. In other words, she prays to God not to leave even a single creature on earth homeless.

Further Reading

  1. Play quiz on The Bird Sanctuary
  2. Questions-Answers of The Bird Sanctuary